SRINAGAR: The zigzag fence that has made the Line of Control (LoC) physically visible for the last more than 15 years is undergoing an upgrade. It is being converted into a “hybrid” barrier even though the plans were to convert it into a smart border, The Hindu newspaper reported.

Line of Control (LoC) fence in remote Kupwara

The upgrade envisages the integration of the existing fence with “LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors, infrared sensors and cameras among others”.

“The new hybrid model of the smart fence being tested will cost around Rs 10 lakh per km and 60 km is being attempted this year,” the newspaper quoted a senior officer on the ground saying. “This has some rudimentary smartisation. The earlier proposal for a hi-tech fence was to cost around Rs 10 crore for 2.4 km. A Rs10 crore type trial was done in the Army’s 19 Division last year, but it was too expensive so no more contracting was done.”

Set up between 2003 and 2005, the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) – as the fence is technically called, dots most of the 740 kms of the LoC. The double row concertina wire fence, however, has high rate of degradation owing to snow, the newspaper said, adding this was the reason why the army wanted to upgrade into a smart fence with various sensors integrated into it.

“For instance, Tangdhar sector gets 10-15 feet snowfall in peak winters, which means in some places the entire fence gets buried,” the report said. “Due to snow, the iron fence becomes brittle and consequently 60-70% of the fence has to be repaired every year, a second officer on the ground said.” It quoted the officer saying: “Every year, there is a major exercise over four months from March to June to bring that fence up.”


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